Why It Pays To Be Relentless In The Pursuit Of Excellence

Published on: December 20, 2015

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Pursue Excellence and Self-Mastery

“It’s about being relentless in the pursuit of your goal and resilient in the face of bad luck and adversity.” — Nick Saban

In the film The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner played by Will Smith announces to his son during a moment of despair: “Hey. Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something. Not even me. All right? “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” Captured in that brief dialogue is an inspiring though compelling reality of what it means to be relentless: persistence. To achieve success, we must be unwavering in our pursuit of it since life seldom rewards the undeserving. In the instance where success comes naturally, if one is not fully prepared, then easy come easy go. It was Warren Buffett who once said: “Until you can manage your emotions, don’t expect to manage money.” Irrespective of assigning money to success, we need to manage our emotions to overcome the obstacles to victory.

An unwavering attitude arises from an indomitable will, characterised by a relentless pursuit of excellence. We can be determined in going after a dream, a goal or a plan just as those who diligently toil away at their vocation. I’m reminded of Thomas Edison whose patience and uncompromising character contributed to numerous inventions. A fierce desire is fuelled by the determination to prosper. To develop persistence, we must soar above our difficulties instead of acquiesce to them. Because, if our resolve is strong nothing can stand in our way to achieve success. However well intentioned, an unyielding attitude cannot flourish in an impoverished mind. A great attitude blossoms when obstacles are observed as positive feedback that lead to victory. To be relentless demands tolerance, given events will seldom play out as we hope. The persistent person conspires with the forces of life and acts when the time is right. They commit to daily actions in pursuit of their objectives while savouring the journey, for the process is as significant as the goal. They foster a growth mindset that favours personal growth instead of a narrowed vision.

Others may consider them with disdain and criticise their approach. Therefore, we ought to weigh up other people’s opinions carefully without allowing it to hinder our plans. Author Robert Greene articulates it well in his book Mastery where he writes: “Be relentless in your pursuit for expansion. Whenever you feel like you are settling into some circle, force yourself to shake things up and look for new challenges…” A relentless outlook can make those around you uncomfortable and lead them to examine their own passion. They may impose their shortcomings on you to appease their indignity. To be exceptional we must pursue excellence and self-mastery. Those who achieve notable success polish their performance and enhance their skills daily. It is no mystery the bigger our dream, the harder it is to reach. This should not discourage us from going after it, despite chipping away at it deliberately and laboriously. I am drawn to the mantra of: “consistent persistence.”

Play To Your Strengths Not Your Weakness

“You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.” – Peter Thiel

At times, success may show up when we least expect it. There is no overnight success with the determined individual. Behind every rags-to-riches story lies a person who works assiduously to hone their craft. Success may be summed up as the ability to follow a well-laid plan with adjustments along the way. “Whatever you want out of life, you must go through a process to get it. The process will take time, energy, determination, sacrifice, and relentless focus. If you want it enough, you’ll find a way to get it done,” writes author Larry Weidel in Serial Winner: 5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success. Determined individuals are meticulous with their detail and research. They dot their i’s and cross their t’s knowing the devil lies in the details. They pursue their passion even when they’re less inclined. The novelist who sits down to compose the written prose, may not be motivated to work on this day. Yet, their determination and unrelenting pursuit of mastery compels them to show up and transform their habits into accomplishments.

A relentless approach demands pursuing objectives that work and discard what is detrimental to the overall goal. This person is outcome orientated identifying when modifications need to be made. They take personal responsibility to overcome hurdles as they emerge, for they are not perfectionists, though seek to be impeccable with the task at hand. Being relentless builds character since we discover a hidden force influencing our every step. We forge the marble of our character to create an inner monument formed through determination, struggle and resilience. These are the foundations of the relentless; unbounding in their quest for excellence. Relentless characters are self-aware and play to their strengths instead of nourishing their weakness. They avoid succumbing to the voice of the ego since they know they are only as good as their last performance. They lead from the heart because pursuing their passion is an endeavour that emerges from their core self and not material gain alone. An uncompromising attitude requires perspective since it is natural to be swept away by success and rest on one’s laurels. Yet, when this happens we lose sight of the factors that contributed to our initial success. Lastly, to be relentless we must think big and act big because as Chris Gardner reminds us in the opening dialogue, if we want something, we go get it. Period!

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